ATI, graphics business unit of Advanced Micro Devices, on Thursday revealed the industry’s first graphics card that supports DirectX 11 functionality and carries price tag of only $60. Even though the novelty sports a number of multimedia and graphics innovations, it will hardly become a useful solution for 3D video games and will not be an ideal future-proof multimedia solutions despite of being nearly perfect one today.
ATI Cedar graphics processor – which powers ATI Radeon HD 5450 graphics board – consists of 242 million of transistors and is produced using 40nm process technology at TSMC. The chip sports 80 stream processors, 8 texture units, 4 render back ends and 64-bit memory controller that supports (G)DDR3, DDR2 and GDDR5 memory. Single precision computing performance of the novelty is rather low – 104GFLOPS at 650MHz clock-speed, hence, it will hardly be a good solution for gamers.
However, the new Cedar chip features a number of multimedia enhancements, including hardware full-HD video decoder that supports MPEG4-AVC, VC-1, Adobe Flash 10.1, WMV HD and so on; built-in 7.1-channel audio core that can bitstream any loseless audio format, such as Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD Master Audio or LPCM via HDMI 1.3a; ATI Eyefinity technology that can support output to up to three displays and some other improvements, which makes the model HD 5450 a nice choice for an HTPC. Still, the novelty is not ideal for multimedia too: unlike the elder brethren, Cedar chip that powers Radeon HD 5400-series graphics boards only supports does not feature two full-HD decoders, which means that it will likely not be able to support Blu-ray 3D/MPEG4-MVC content since the latter requires decoding of two 1080p streams at once. It is unclear why ATI decided not to update this part of the chip, which it positions for multimedia enthusiasts. Rather ironically, ATI still declares support for stereoscopic 3D glasses support by the novelty.
ATI Radeon HD 5450 brings DirectX 11 and DirectCompute capabilities down to $60 price-point, which will help to increase the critical mass of DX11-capable chips installed inside PCs. This is important as video game publishers care about formal support of features, but rarely keep in mind that boards like the HD 5450 will hardly ever be able to provide adequate performance in DirectX 11 games due to generally low computing horsepower.
“The ATI Radeon HD 5450 offers consumers another next-generation graphics product from AMD, and further reinforces our price-performance value at a wide range of price points. With the addition of the ATI Radeon HD 5450, home theater enthusiasts and casual gamers have access to cutting-edge features and solid performance at an incredible value,” said Matt Skynner, vice president and general manager of AMD graphics division.
There will be several versions of model HD 5450 graphics cards available. Two major flavours will be equipped with 512MB of DDR2 memory at 800MHz or 512MB of (G)DDR3 memory at 1600MHz. Needless to say, different graphics cards will have different performance. Virtually ATI Radeon 5450 graphics boards will carry passive cooling solutions and will be utterly silent.
The ATI Radeon HD 5450 is available immediately from a number of partners, including Asustek Computer, Ask, Club 3D, Diamond Multimedia, Gigabyte Technologies, HIS, LDLC.com, MSI, Sapphire, Power Color, VisionTek and XFX.